In my previous blog, I mentioned a few trending topics that come up when you mention professional women (i.e. wage gap, lower percentage of women in sales roles, etc.) One topic that I noticed the most is the low number of women occupying the C-suite in Fortune 500 organizations. What does this have to do with getting more women interested in sales roles? I’ll tell ya!
I recently came across an article in the Huffington Post that gave a compelling reason for getting more women into sales. Debra Walton outlines that “getting more women into sales leadership roles is not only good for business, but is critical for paving the way for them to ascend to the highest executive ranks.” She references a McKinsey study that found that “sales experience is a must for people seeking the so-called “line jobs” — those with profit and loss accountability — that are a pipeline to the C-suite. Though 62 percent of the women in large corporations are in staff jobs, many of these provide service and assistance but don’t directly generate revenue — and thus don’t lead to top jobs in senior management. In contrast, 65 percent of the men on executive committees hold line jobs, a fact that may explain why so many more of them are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, of which only about 3 percent are led by women.”
Whoa…compelling stuff right? This study echoes my previous statements that sales experience is invaluable for professional development!
After I read this, I wanted to engage some of our female SDRs (because they are rock stars and amazing at their jobs) and pose a few questions to them in order to feature some of their answers. The first question that I had for them was this:
What drew you to a sales role in the first place?
First, what drew me to sales? I needed a job. I graduated college during the ‘08-’09 financial crisis when it seemed like no one was going to get a job. So I applied to graduate school and received a Masters in US History two years later. Totally applicable to sales right?
Facing student loan debt, I needed to find any kind of employment, and fast. A friend of mine had previously worked at QuotaFactory and told me they were hiring rapidly to accommodate a big account. Needless to say…I got the job. “This is a one year gig” I told myself. “Just until I can figure out my next move.” Then something funny happened. I was good at sales, did consistently well and loved engaging with my clients. Five years later I am still here and have progressed from an SDR, to managing a team of reps, to now managing the accounts we service. I am glad that all of the SDRs (men and women) that we have on the phone today see the value in exploring a sales role.
When speaking with the women in our office I asked them what drew them to a sales role and you can read some of their answers below:
“I already had sales-related experience prior to applying for my first “real job” post college graduation. So, I felt fully qualified for the position I was applying for and thought that it would be a great way to build on skills I had already started developing. Also, because of my focus on Marketing in school, I thought starting in a sales role would get my foot in the door for a marketing position.”
“Personally being right out of school and looking for a job I saw sales as being a great learning experience even if I wasn’t too sure at the time if I would even be good at it. I figured, either way, spending time in a sales role would give me great skills and experience to use if I decided to change career paths.”
“I like that what you put into it is what you get out of it. I also enjoy being able to structure my own day.”
At QuotaFactory, we have a handful of women occupying roles in sales development, customer success, marketing, and senior management. We’d like to open the discussion to women in sales roles outside of our own community. What has sales done for you? Do you have an argument for – or against – women in sales? Let us know in the comments below!